Toronto Star Previews AR4

The Toronto Star has broken the embargo on the IPCC AR4. They give a short synopsis of the expected from the Summary for Policy Makers.  One of the items in the short review was the relative attribution between solar and greenhouse. The article says:

Rebutting one of the main arguments of climate change skeptics, it says observations of temperature increases and shrinking ice cover, “support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years” was caused by solar flares or other natural events.

The article also mentions:

All the continents except Antarctica have warmed during the past half-century.

I wonder what happened to polar amplification- I guess they meant North Polar amplification [Santa et al, 2006 - ho, ho, ho].


  1. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 2:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: “shrinking ice cover” and “last 50 years” – hmmm, that’s odd. I didn’t know that we had a *reliable* assessment of ice extent going back 50 years. That’s news to me.

  2. Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 3:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    All the continents except Antarctica have warmed during the past half-century.

    The ice has been shrinking since the middle of the last cold period in the 20th Century – well that’s informative. I can also reveal that the ice is thinner than it was 400 years ago and 10,000 years ago.

    In other news: ursine defecation has been found to be common in arboreally dense regions and the Pope has been found to believe in Catholicism to the exclusion of other faiths.

  3. Hans Erren
    Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 6:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The official timeline:
    2 february IPCC press release with conclusions of WG I in Paris
    5 April IPCC press release with conclusions of WG II in Brussels
    3 May IPCC press release with conclusions of WG III in Bangkok
    12-16 november IPCC press release with conclusions of SPM

  4. Follow the Money
    Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 6:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “All the continents except Antarctica have warmed during the past half-century.

    Which means all were cooling before. Did industrialization begin in 1956?

    Steve, I think you’ll have some fun with the IPCC states. You’ve already debunked Gore’s new tree ring-less hockey stick.

  5. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 7:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m not so given to easy cynical humor at the prospect of IPCC 4AR.

    Its release will be the occasion of new AGW drum-beating, increased attacks purporting western callous greed, mea maxima culpaeic hand-wringing, more aggressive character assassinations levelled at “global-warming-denialists,” further attempts to undermine technological society in the name of an eco-utopian primitivism, more political momentum for diversion of vast sums into wasted efforts, and, finally, furtherance of the ideologically noxious view that humans are, in and of themselves, a curse on an otherwise verdant and dancing Gaia; fit only for eventual extermination.

  6. maksimovich
    Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 8:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years” was caused by solar flares or other natural events.

    Is this to be an each way bet?.In the abscence of other information,I would presume the quotes marks are taken from the conclusion and here we see the introduction of climate change descriptions as opposed to global warming.

    Natural events would be say
    Volcanic-effect cooling.
    Solar Flares -effect cooling

    In other words a rather unambiguos ambiguous statement.

  7. Cervus
    Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 8:16 PM | Permalink | Reply


    No doubt you’re correct. I’ve seen our civilization referred to as a “horrible planet rapist” on another forum devoted to alternative energy. I have no use for the misanthropic streak present in so many environmental groups. Or for the outright panic about the slim chance of catastrophe. Dr. Mike Hulme seems to agree with me.

  8. Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 8:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t understand the logic in the quote. Assume for the sake of argument that the sun, via charged particles, can have a large effect on this planet’s climate. Assume also for the sake of argument that CO2 can have a similarly strong effect on temperature. In that circumstance, how does the AMOUNT of any rise in temperature tell you anything about which of those two mechanisms causes it?

    It’s not sufficient to show that temperature has gone up to claim it’s AGW. It’s also necessary to show that AGW not only can cause a rise of that amount, but also that no other explanation fits the evidence. Without strong knowledge about the dynamics of the sun and the planet’s climate, how can they make that claim?

    So basically in a nutshell the argument quoted is “the temperature has gone up so much, it must be our fault” – without explaining how natural/other factors are unable to cause such an increase – which is surely hard to demonstrate with the current sorry lack of understanding in the field today.

  9. Follow the Money
    Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 12:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t understand the logic in the quote.
    A problem is it is parsed. Part of it is direct quotation, part not. See…

    “support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years” was caused by solar flares or other natural events.

    Will have to see the real deal in final form, but predictably this might indicate some professional spinmeistering to come. The IPCC report’s targets are not scientists but the public and politicians. It looks like they’re saying it’s not the sun’s fault, implicitly the sun’s radition is static. I read it that way at first, and I’m a fairly-well informed non-scientist on this subject.

    maksimovich’s statement is telling for me. A scientist reads “other natural events” not as the sun’s energy output but specific perturbances, volcanic eruptions akin to solar flares. The quote, or argumentation, we shall see, will serve a primary purpose of being a talking point refuting causation by the sun, and mucking up discussion. “But the IPCC report said solar flares and other natural events did not cause the warming” will become a retort, some call a “meme”, in media reporting. Trust me, 98% of the people will think such means the IPCC rejected sun causation. The beauty of the wording is it doesn’t so any charge so is plausibly deniable by close reading within the context of scientific discourse.

    We’ll see, but the prior reports were rife with these types of word plays.

    The choosing of “50 years” ago is another established AGW trick, selective beginning dates. Your average public person, and politican and journo, isn’t going to think “well, what was happening before that?” though the stat’s selectiveness should signal incredulity rather than acceptance in the first place.

  10. Reid
    Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 4:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Anyone who labels a skeptic a “climate denier” should themselves be labeled a “climate inquisitor”.

  11. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 6:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think the IPCC will be big news. The media, the public and the politicians have been fully primed (even moreso lately it seems) to promote the devastation that will be caused by global warming. You’ll hear the science is settled about 100 times over the next few months. You’ll hear nothing but horror stories for the next few months while the IPCC rolls out.

    Maybe we need to take a different tact in toning down the rhetoric here. Maybe we need to get to the scientists promoting the slanted studies instead. Maybe we should appeal to their personal and scientific integrity instead. I’m not saying embarass them or attack them but positively appeal to it. The other efforts don’t appear to be working at all. It might be all we all left (until a truly cold period ocurrs or the public gets bored with the doom and gloom that never seems to happen.)

  12. bruce
    Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 7:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    One of the most important things that we need in relation to FAR is a rapid evaluation, critique and review comparing the Summary For PolicyMakers with the body of the report to assess whether the Summary accurately represents the body of the work.

    That scientists who prepared the TAR allowed their work to be misrepresented, distorted and politicised staggered me. That in itself would seem to put a black mark against their credibility as scientists and the credibility of the whole IPCC process.

    This whole episode where climate scientists run arguments that are poorly researched, breach basic statistical analysis precepts; refuse to disclose underlying data, methods etc for replication; etc etc has massively devalued their credibility. Restoration of that credibility can only come by a) insisting on doing good science, and b) not allowing the science to be distorted, misrepresented and otherwise lied about by those pushing an agenda.

    The Critique of the Stern Review recently posted here is a very good example of well written, objective, and rational comment that although prepared by scientists described by some as alarmists, stands on its own as credible work. We need a similar assessment of the Summary for PolicyMakers – assuming of course that it is as egregiously distorted as the last one was. Perhaps we should wait and see.

  13. Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This picture of satellite temperatures over the last 25 years nicely illustrates the lack of correlation of the climate models with reality — To me, the decreasing temperature of Antarctica would appear to be a big contradiction with current thought, but I guess that’s just me.

  14. Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 1:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “All the continents except Antarctica have warmed during the past half-century.”

    This is exactly the type of consensus and statistical significance that they always find sufficient. There are six continents, so about 3 of them are expected to warm up and 3 of them cool down even if it’s random. But it’s not exactly 3, it’s 3 plus minus 1-2 or so, if you evaluate the width of the distribution. So the result “1″ much like “5″ of cooling continents is a one-sigma result and there is no statistically significant signal in this statement.

    The number of continents that heat up vs. cool down simply can’t be 3 vs 3 all the tim. This particular type of misunderstanding probability theory is probably an artifact of an irrational influence of egalitarianism that imagines that everything is always in perfect balance. But that’s not what probability theory predicts.

  15. Boris
    Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 2:40 PM | Permalink | Reply


    Where does the Star say antyhing about probability? They simply make a statement of fact.

  16. Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 6:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear Boris, it makes a statement of fact, but in combination with the previous two sentences, this statement is a false statement. Have you read the actual text? The number of warming continents is mentioned in the section of “rebuttals” of skeptics’ interpretations. I have just explained why this is no rebuttal of anything if treated rationally and I will do so more carefully below.

    I agree that they don’t say anything about probabilities which is exactly why their observation has no significant scientific value and why it can be ignored. I think it is extremely important to have a clue what the probabilities of different outcomes according to different theories are.

    If each of 6 continents were warming/cooling randomly, there would be 2^6=64 different possibilities. Twelve of them, 6+6, correspond to the situation in which exactly one continent behaves in the opposite way than the remaining five. On the other hand, 20 of them correspond to the split to 3+3 continents. The probability that the continents will be split to 5+1 or 1+5 is 60% of the probability that they will be split to 3+3, and it is very likely that this will occur even randomly.

    In the real world, it is not surprising that the evolution of the continents won’t be quite random and independent which makes 1+5 or 5+1 even more likely. To summarize: 1+5 is kind of exactly the result that one expects by pure chance.

    I am only saying a trivial fact that this observation – 5+1 split of the continents – itself doesn’t provide us with any justification to create new committees in the Congress, introduction of multi-billion systems of new taxes, or similar crazy things.

  17. Ian
    Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 7:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    To decompose warming into discrete quantities (continents) and the binary value of warming or not warming is disingenuous. Clearly the northern part of the world is warming and the southern part is cooling, with a very slight warming overall. Does this agree with what the climate models have predicted? I don’t think so … but that won’t stop people from pretending we have complete understanding ;-)

  18. Ian
    Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 7:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I apologize for having the image so big! I guess I needed to specify a width. Since most likely Steve or John or whoever will delete the above, here is another try at a smaller version

  19. Posted Jan 20, 2007 at 8:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear Ian, your smaller version than the elephant above seems to be subpixel in size. ;-) I think they should manually add a reasonable width= and height= tags to your first comment and erase the second. Otherwise, I completely agree. The observations don’t tell us everything but they tell us many more details than what is usually extracted. Dividing the thing to six continents that are viewed in a binary form as 6 bits is naive – but it is still less naive than viewing the whole question as 1 bit, namely global warming Yes/No. ;-) (Yes=God=Good=Creationism=Liberalism, No=Evil=Corruption=Capitalism=America=Heretic.) Indeed, the models should predict something about the actual details of the data which doesn’t seem to be quite a success story but we’re supposed not to care about it.

  20. Tom
    Posted Jan 21, 2007 at 6:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Global warming: the final verdict

    A study by the world’s leading experts says global warming will happen faster and be more devastating than previously thought

    Robin McKie, science editor
    Sunday January 21, 2007


    Global warming is destined to have a far more destructive and earlier impact than previously estimated, the most authoritative report yet produced on climate change will warn next week.

    A draft copy of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by The Observer, shows the frequency of devastating storms – like the ones that battered Britain last week – will increase dramatically. Sea levels will rise over the century by around half a metre; snow will disappear from all but the highest mountains; deserts will spread; oceans become acidic, leading to the destruction of coral reefs and atolls; and deadly heatwaves will become more prevalent.

    The impact will be catastrophic, forcing hundreds of millions of people to flee their devastated homelands, particularly in tropical, low-lying areas, while creating waves of immigrants whose movements will strain the economies of even the most affluent countries.

    ‘The really chilling thing about the IPCC report is that it is the work of several thousand climate experts who have widely differing views about how greenhouse gases will have their effect. Some think they will have a major impact, others a lesser role. Each paragraph of this report was therefore argued over and scrutinised intensely. Only points that were considered indisputable survived this process. This is a very conservative document – that’s what makes it so scary,’ said one senior UK climate expert.

    Climate concerns are likely to dominate international politics next month. President Bush is to make the issue a part of his state of the union address on Wednesday while the IPCC report’s final version is set for release on 2 February in a set of global news conferences.

    Although the final wording of the report is still being worked on, the draft indicates that scientists now have their clearest idea so far about future climate changes, as well as about recent events. It points out that:

    · 12 of the past 13 years were the warmest since records began;

    · ocean temperatures have risen at least three kilometres beneath the surface;

    · glaciers, snow cover and permafrost have decreased in both hemispheres;

    · sea levels are rising at the rate of almost 2mm a year;

    · cold days, nights and frost have become rarer while hot days, hot nights and heatwaves have become more frequent.

    And the cause is clear, say the authors: ‘It is very likely that [man-made] greenhouse gas increases caused most of the average temperature increases since the mid-20th century,’ says the report.

    To date, these changes have caused global temperatures to rise by 0.6C. The most likely outcome of continuing rises in greenhouses gases will be to make the planet a further 3C hotter by 2100, although the report acknowledges that rises of 4.5C to 5C could be experienced. Ice-cap melting, rises in sea levels, flooding, cyclones and storms will be an inevitable consequence.

    Past assessments by the IPCC have suggested such scenarios are ‘likely’ to occur this century. Its latest report, based on sophisticated computer models and more detailed observations of snow cover loss, sea level rises and the spread of deserts, is far more robust and confident. Now the panel writes of changes as ‘extremely likely’ and ‘almost certain’.

    And in a specific rebuff to sceptics who still argue natural variation in the Sun’s output is the real cause of climate change, the panel says mankind’s industrial emissions have had five times more effect on the climate than any fluctuations in solar radiation. We are the masters of our own destruction, in short.

    There is some comfort, however. The panel believes the Gulf Stream will go on bathing Britain with its warm waters for the next 100 years. Some researchers have said it could be disrupted by cold waters pouring off Greenland’s melting ice sheets, plunging western Europe into a mini Ice Age, as depicted in the disaster film The Day After Tomorrow.

    The report reflects climate scientists’ growing fears that Earth is nearing the stage when carbon dioxide rises will bring irreversible change to the planet. ‘We are seeing vast sections of Antarctic ice disappearing at an alarming rate,’ said climate expert Chris Rapley, in a phone call to The Observer from the Antarctic Peninsula last week. ‘That means we can expect to see sea levels rise at about a metre a century from now on – and that will have devastating consequences.’

    However, there is still hope, said Peter Cox of Exeter University. ‘We are like alcoholics who have got as far as admitting there is a problem. It is a start. Now we have got to start drying out – which means reducing our carbon output.’,,1995348,00.html

  21. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Jan 21, 2007 at 8:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s funny that all those catastrophes are yet to come. The fact is, nobody has died yet from “global warming”. But all be warned: it’s coming! And it’s going to be worse than your worst nightmares!

    Can you imagine: sea levels rising at “almost 2mm a year”. Gee, that’s 20 cm over the next century! And cold days are rarer! That one is a major disaster! And what about ocean temperatures warmer even 3 kilometers below the surface! Why 3 kilometers?

    So the IPCC is finally revealing its true face: an exercise in proving a pre-determined conclusion. Funny that as some disquieting evidence starts to appear here and there, the message gets even more shrill. You gotta speak louder and louder to make sure the critics don’t get heard.

    I like the bit about the sceptics who “still” argue about natural variations in the Sun’s output. Clearly some see this new evidence as a real threat to the orthodoxy. So it is very important to specifically address this threat, and dismiss it immediately. Make it sound like it’s an old argument, whereas it’s actually quite new.

    I don’t know if one should cry or laugh. The funniest thing about it is that we WON’T do anything about it. Kyoto is just about dead, and there won’t be any real follow-up to it. People, in their vast majority, won’t change their lifestyle, and the people in developing nations will keep working to gain access to the same lifestyle. In the end, this is a vast exercise in global hypocrisy.

    In an open letter to our local newpaper yesterday, someone called for nothing less than a global dictatorship to force people to “respect the environment”. I think we’re going to see more and more of this. Maybe we are on the slippery slope towards giving full power to eco-fundamentalists.


  22. Posted Jan 21, 2007 at 12:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “I wonder what happened to polar amplification- I guess they meant North Polar amplification”

    Didn’t you mean North Polar amplification except for Greenland? :-)

  23. Posted Jan 21, 2007 at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Rebutting one of the main arguments of climate change skeptics, it says observations of temperature increases and shrinking ice cover, “support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years” was caused by solar flares or other natural events.”

    from Nir Shaviv’s blog:

    I am concerned about the apparent lack of correlation between the shortwave reflections and CRF as measured by the neutron counter (figure 6 on my DRAFT copy of “Cosmic rays modulation of the cloud effects on the radiative flux in the Southern Hemisphere Magnetic Anomaly region”). To what extent do the measurements of the neutron flux represent the part of the CRF responsible for ionization at low cloud level?
    Dear M.
    Submitted by shaviv on Tue, 2007-01-16 12:39.
    Guess what?
    There is a trend. The catch which neither you nor the proprietors of realclimate realize is that the energies relevant for low altitude ionization are way higher than the low energy records either you or they look at.
    In all solar activity proxies, one can see that on top of the 11-year solar cycle, there is a secular change over the 20th century: Increase from 1910 or so to 1940, decrease to the 70′s and then an increase. The catch, however, is that the secular trend at different energies is different. At low energies (which are not relevant to the amount of atmospheric ionization, but which keep on being mentioned by you or others), the increase from the 70′s is week, though it is still there, and comparable to the decreased from the 1940′s. When measured with high energies (e.g., as measured with muon ionization chambers), namely, at energies relevant to the amount of atmospheric ionization, the increase is larger, more than the decreased from the 1940′s to 1970′s.
    In any case, if you read this scientific paper which I published in JGR, you’ll see that the best fit estimate that I get is that solar activity explains 2/3′s or so of the warming. This would imply that a good fraction of the warming from the 70′s could be anthropogenic, however, we don’t really know that, it would again be circumstantial evidence without a smoking gun….

  24. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Jan 21, 2007 at 1:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Here is a summary factsheet of some recent peer reviewed scientific papers that address some of the more common claims of global warming advocates. These papers indicate that their claims are not true and indicate that global warming is not a problem:

    1. Weather records have not become more frequent (as is commonly claimed) and, in fact, are occurring at a rate that is statistically indistinguishable from trendless white noise time series.
    Ref.: S. Redner and M. Petersen, On the Role of Global Warming on the Statistics of Record-Breaking Temperatures, scheduled for publication in Phys Rev Letters E.

    2. Sea level rise has been slowing down, rather than increasing as commonly reported.
    Ref.: Larsen, C.E. and I. Clark. 2006. A search for scale in sea-level studies. Journal of Coastal Research, 22(4) ,788–800.

    3. The recent reported warming of the oceans may be a reflection of faulty observations rather than a real warming.
    Ref.: Ivchenko, V. O., N. C. Wells, and D. L. Aleynik (2006), Anomaly of heat content in the northern Atlantic in the last 7 years: Is the ocean warming or cooling?, Geophysical Research Letters, 33.

    4. The Arctic Ocean has been ice free before and had much reduced ice cover before 1200 AD compared to the present.
    Ref.: Grinsted, A., Moore, J.C., Pohjola, V., Martma, T. and Isaksson, E. 2006. Svalbard summer melting, continentality, and sea ice extent from the Lomonosovfonna ice core. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111.

    5. Greenland temperatures for 1991-2000 are the same as they were for 1851-1860.
    Ref. Vinther, B.M., K.K. Andersen, P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa, and J. Cappelen. 2006. Extending
    Greenland temperature records into the late eighteenth century. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111.

    6. Snow cover has increased in Eurasia between 1936 and 2004, whereas models predict a decline.
    Ref.: Groisman, P.Y., R.W. Knight, V.N. Razuvaev, O.N. Bulygina, and T.R. Karl, 2006. State of the ground: Climatology and changes during the past 69 years over northern Eurasia for a rarely used measure of snow cover and frozen land. Journal of Climate, 19, 4933-4955.

    7. The amount of Antarctic ice is increasing.
    Ref.: Wingham, D.J., A. Shepherd, A. Muir, and G.J. Marshall. 2006: Mass balance of the
    Antarctic ice sheet. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 364, 1627-1635.

    8. Glaciers have been retreating for 250 years or more and their retreat is not a new phenomena or evidence for anthropogenic global warming. It is evidence for coming out of the Little Ice Age or evidence for an upward swing in the 1500 year climate cycle.
    Refs.: Pederson, G.T., S.T. Gray, D,B. Fagre, and L.J. Graumlich. 2006. Long-Duration Drought Variability and Impacts on Ecosystem Services: A Case Study from Glacier National Park, Montana. Earth Interactions, 10, Paper No. 4.
    Cullen, N. J., T. MàƒÆ’à‚⵬g, G. Kaser, K. Hussein, K. Steffen, and D. R. Hardy (2006), Kilimanjaro Glaciers: Recent areal extent from satellite data and new interpretation of observed 20th century retreat rates, Geophysical Research Letters, 33. (Recession occurred mostly early in the 20th century.)
    Hong, Y.T., et al., 2000, Response of climate to solar forcing recorded in a 6000-year time-series of Chinese peat cellulose. The Holocene, 10, 1–7.
    Conway et al., 1999, Past and future grounding-line retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Science, 286, 280–283.
    Bond, G., Kromer, B., Beer, J., Muscheler, R., Evans, M.N., Showers, W., Hoffmann, S., Lotti-Bond, R., Hajdas, I. and Bonani, G. 2001. Persistent solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the Holocene. Science 294: 2130-2136.

  25. Follow the Money
    Posted Jan 21, 2007 at 3:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I think the IPCC will be big news. The media, the public and the politicians have been fully primed (even moreso lately it seems) to promote the devastation that will be caused by global warming. You’ll hear the science is settled about 100 times over the next few months. You’ll hear nothing but horror stories for the next few months while the IPCC rolls out.

    It will be big news. One way to undermine it is to always link it to the United Nations, “the UN’s IPCC report.”

    Except for certain elites the UN has no credibility in the USA, given scams like Oil For Food and the Million Dead Iraqi Babies story (a statistics fraud classic). One might also point out the father of the Kyoto Accords, Maurice Strong, is implicated deeply with allegations of fraud in Oil For Food.

    Another reason it will be “big” is it coincides with a flurry of Democratic bills pushing carbon trading schemes. The carbon gimmick has attached itself to a political party, replacing energy efficiency, security and total emissions control.

  26. Posted Jan 21, 2007 at 10:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear Jeff Weffer #11,

    what you show here is defeatism. See 2800+ attacks on the inquisitor Heidi Cullen :-) to become a bit more optimistic:

    Some of these predominantly skeptical reactions are pretty intelligent, others are less intelligent, but I feel that the skeptical camp simply has to work with the people who think that the climate alarmism is silly, the scientific statements sound unlikely, politicization of weather is bad, and the proposed policies are counterproductive for their lives – even if their opinions are not 100% qualified. Alarmists are working with uneducated supporters all the time. We should try to educate not only ourselves but also the broader skeptical public and increase their ability to participate in meaningful interactions.

    Skepticism must unfortunately become a clear and visible political force.

    Take Rush Limbaugh or, maybe even better, Sean Hannity – skeptics with an influence. I think they follow many things about the climate, and if they don’t get everything right, someone should try to tell them. But they should become legitimate parts of the opinionmaking at the higher levels much like their alarmist counterparts. Their listeners and audience may sometimes be encouraged to peacefully participate in certain interactions on the web and elsewhere.

    We should try to change the image of the public discourse that seems to be dominated by the alarmists. Politicians must realize that being green is not a safe strategy if they care about their careers only, even if the creationist leaders now agree with the environmental activists.

    The Cullen incident shows, for example, that alarmist sources may be completely overwhelmed by common sense and careful skepticism – and sometimes a lot of adrenaline – under some circumstances. I think that the alarmists are doing these things very calmly and rationally. They try to flood discussions at blogs and elsewhere by their color of the opinion which includes pseudonyms, repetition, and mailing lists to do so.

    I am afraid that the skeptical camp will have to become a little bit organized, too. There’s a lot of organized nonsense in the left-wing blogosphere that creates the false image, for example, that RC is way more serious than CA, among many other things. This is created by the left-wing blogosphere. I think that the right-wing counterparts are not doing much.

    Although e.g. Instapundit has skeptical articles, he hasn’t done much for the promotion of sources such as CA. Malkin has done even less, I think. Someone should explain them that this is a part of the irrational feelings that the alarmists are ahead in the blogosphere and elsewhere. It might be that they also think that CA is better than RC but they were not yet brave to say so. ;-)

    All the best

  27. Louis Hissink
    Posted Jan 22, 2007 at 2:29 AM | Permalink | Reply



    RW blogs are not fulltime pastimes – we have to earn a living, which in my case means very little time to read up the latest additions to the litany.

    I do rely on Benny Peiser’s email CCnet for pertinent data but getting into the nitty gritty of specific papers, (your recent efforts are 100%) is not an option. At least not for this little doberman.

    I have already had a shot fired over my bows from a mega-mining type, not untoward but the nastiest are the most subtle.

    As AGW is essentially pseudo-religion, maybe an unorganised scepticism is the way to go – guerilla warfare benefits from appearing disorganised, so the target never really works out where the Exocets are coming from.

    Become organised and they can actually do some serious targetting at us.

    I still maintain the the achilles heel of AGW is in the fundamentals of the data collection. From my perspective as a geoscientist with some interest in geostatistics and geomathematics, the way they compute the global temperatures etc are seriously flawed. Essex and McKitrick touched on that with their Dr Thermometer chapter but no one seems to have understood the point made in that chapter of their book.

    Whether it’s a global temperature estimate or mineral ore-reserve estimation, its the same principle – and here is definitely not the place to go into detail on this.

    So let’s stay purposefully disorganised for the time being but continue lobbing scientifically accurate intellectual hand-grenades into the various blogs.

  28. george h.
    Posted Jan 22, 2007 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear Lubos and Louis,
    I’d like to see a documented point-by-point rebuttal of AR4 along the lines of the Oregon petition or Monckton’s analysis. Maybe I’m dreaming, but if done right with collaboration of enough of the scientific community, I think it would get some attention. By the way, I also felt the response to Dr. Cullen encouraging.

  29. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Jan 22, 2007 at 9:34 AM | Permalink | Reply


    Personnally, I think that it’s scientists who ought to speak up. I am quite certain that many of them do not like the alarmism, or even the way that the IPCC misrepresents the science.

    Whether you are pro- or against carbon reduction policies is one thing, and it’s a matter of political opinion. Let the Limbaugh’s of this world argue all they can about it. But whether the science behind the alarmism is solid or not is another matter. If the scientists themselves let the alarmists spread their message unhindered, they are just as guilty of misinforming the public who, after all, is paying for all this. I understand that the few of them who take such a courageous stand pay dearly for it. Despite what Curry is saying, I don’t see what big rewards the likes of Richard Lindzen or John Christy are getting, at least in the scientific community.

    #21: Steve, I know you don’t like that kind of references. Nevertheless the story is real and ought to be heard. When something really bad happens, we all wonder afterwards: why didn’t we say something while it was still time? Not learning the lessons of history condemns us to repeat them over and over. We take for granted our democracy, our freedom, our way of life. But it’s all very fragile.

  30. Posted Jan 22, 2007 at 9:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear george h. and Francois,

    I don’t think that IPCC should be criticized before we actually see what they write. The Toronto Star text could be evidence of misrepresentation of IPCC by the journalists rather than misrepresentation of science by IPCC. My guess is that the IPCC report will be more meaningful and honest than the previous one.


  31. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jan 22, 2007 at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #27

    I essentially agree with you, Louis H, on this issue. I think the free wheeling conglomeration of skeptics and non-alarmists in a less than organized approach is a good thing as in my opinion it keeps the discussions more open minded and informative.

    The other part of this issue is that I do not believe that when push comes to shove that the public will accept any uncertain predictions of long term future disasters as reason for current adversity without better understandings of the uncertainties involved. That does not mean that the public cannot be “panicked” into action because that has happened before, but it does become rather obvious when this mode of action occurs and counter reactions can be swift.

    Finally I would not want a “political” albatross placed around my neck in arguing my case on AGW, regardless of the side I was arguing — the likes of which I sometimes feel is well represented by Al Gore, but it could also be a less than informed skeptical or non-alarmist advocate. Surely at the policy level politics necessarily become involved, but at the meta-levels of the discussion, I would not want a typical political approach that sees things in over simplified terms and always with an ear and eye to marketing it to the general public — and often without facts getting in the way.

  32. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jan 22, 2007 at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #5 – Notably, in the Western world, we now have a perfect storm wherein the “Age of Aquarius” generation have now taken the reigns of corporate power, and have melded their personal world views with the undeniable temptations inherent in the cap and trade financial crime syndicate. 2007 is going to be a highly disturbing year for anyone who has clarity, ethics and a solid conscience. I am both part of the monstrosity as well as a witness to it.

  33. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Jan 23, 2007 at 7:38 AM | Permalink | Reply


    See, this is exactly what I’m talking about. Note that all the usual suspects are cited here, Cicerone, North, Pielke Jr, even Dr. Curry (who really seems to enjoy the media exposure, and her new status as a supposedly impartial arbiter of the debate…).

    But then, making a carreer in science is as much about following the crowd as it is going against it to demarcate oneself. Maybe promoting AGW was the “in” thing to do 10-20 years ago. But then maybe the young generation will feel that it’s time to rebel, and deconstruct the whole thing.

  34. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Jan 23, 2007 at 7:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #33 Steve, don’t worry, no dangerous references in that link…

  35. Jon
    Posted Jan 23, 2007 at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s the link to the Kevin Vranes’ blog entry which the Chronicle story is based upon:

    Sure this has been linked elsewhere – for it’s a good and thoughtful post. Were the RC crowd to adopt this mindset, we’d all be the better for it…..

  36. MarkW
    Posted Jan 23, 2007 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The logic seems to be:

    Since models show that small increases in CO2 can result in large temperature changes.
    Therefore all of the heating that we have seen must be the result of CO2, not solar changes.

  37. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Jan 23, 2007 at 1:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #35 Thanks. Funny thing is: he stopped blogging, so we’ll never hear what he was to reveal us about GCM’s… unless he posts it on Prometheus. Will he himself have the guts to do it?

  38. jae
    Posted Jan 23, 2007 at 1:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m really curious about what the AR4 will have to say about the MWP and LIA. Will they attribute it to “localized” phenomena? This is the most important consiseration in climate science, because the acceptance of these events forces one to question whether some or all of the modern warming (such as it is…) is just a part of a normal cycle.

  39. Jon
    Posted Jan 23, 2007 at 2:55 PM | Permalink | Reply


    He’s over at Prometheus full-time now I believe…

    Here, btw, is his response to the Chronicle article

    and here are Pielke’s comments – insightful….

  40. Posted Jan 22, 2008 at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is there any way you might be able to help spread the word about this event?

    Thank you,
    Emma Roche
    416-533-6724 ex 270

    Royal St. George’s College Parent’s Guild Speaker Series presents

    Geoff Green and Ray Zahab
    “Icebergs to Sand Dunes – Our Changing Planet”
    January 28th, 2008
    Doors open at 6:30pm ~ Lecture begins at 7:00pm
    Tickets are $25 ~ General Admission
    At the Bloor Cinema ~ 506 Bloor Street West


    “From Icebergs to Sand Dunes” explores the effects of Climate Change on two desert biomes. Together Canadian adventurers Geoff Green and Ray Zahab take the audience on a fascinating and inspiring journey from the Earth’s Polar Regions to the Sahara Desert. During the presentation, Geoff and Ray will weave together stories of adventure, profound observations of and lessons from Mother Nature, and their unique perspective into the human condition. 

    Proceeds “From Icebergs to Sand Dunes” will be given to The Students on Ice Polar Education Foundation and ONE X ONE.

    Geoff Green is a Canadian adventurer, environmentalist, and educator who founded the award winning educational organization, Students on Ice. Geoff Green has been leading expeditions and adventures from pole to pole for the past fifteen years and is a veteran of 73 Antarctic expeditions and 30 Arctic expeditions. In 2005, he received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. Congress for his work with youth and the environment. He was also voted one of Canada’s “Top 40 under 40 – an annual national prize event saluting Canada’s top young leaders. In 2004, Outpost Magazine chose Geoff as one of the “Top 5 Canadian Explorers” to watch. Most recently, Geoff was awarded the Citation of Merit for outstanding feats of exploration and service by the prestigious Explorers Club in New York City.

    Ray Zahab is the winner of some of the world’s most difficult and challenging ultra-distance foot races. Ray is motivated by challenge, distance and discovery. It was not until the late nineties that Ray competed in his first adventure race, started rock and ice climbing, and left a pack-a-day smoking habit behind him. That began something new for Ray and this dramatic awakening from a lifestyle of unhealthy choices uncovered a deep passion for progressive challenge. On November 1, 2006 Ray and two other runners set out on an epic expedition to cross the Sahara Desert by foot. One hundred and eleven days after leaving the coast of Senegal they made history by dipping their toes into the Red Sea and raising the bar of all that we consider possible. The epic expedition had the trio running an average of 70km’s a day, without a single day of rest. Having dream become reality, Ray has become a unique voice of inspiration and motivation. He has pushed the limits of endurance beyond what has ever been done before. The documentary film about the expedition, Running The Sahara, will be released in 2008 to raise awareness of the water crisis in Africa.

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